In the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Indiana University School of Medicine, physician educators provide an excellent educational experience to medical students, residents and fellows as they pursue careers in physiatry.
Physicians in this specialty care for individuals of all ages who have conditions of the bones, muscles, joints, brain and nervous system, and they help to restore the patient’s function and quality of life to the fullest extent possible. Physiatrists commonly treat sports- and work-related injuries, trauma of all types, and diseases and disorders, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.
Training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation offers opportunities for careers in academic, hospital-based or private practice settings. Clinical as well as administrative positions are available, and many practitioners enjoy a balance between inpatient and outpatient work. Advancing technologies in patient care also make physiatry an exciting specialty in which to conduct research.
Working as Physiatrists
After training, physicians in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, known as physiatrists, typically choose a solo practice or a group setting-partnership, multispecialty group, hospital-based or HMO. Affiliations may be with an academic institution, a private community hospital or clinic, a VA hospital, or a free-standing rehab facility. The practice may consist of solely outpatient care (such as a sports medicine clinic), inpatient care (hospital stroke unit), or a combination of both.
In many cases, the patient population for this area of medicine is referral-based and the physiatrist initially functions in a consulting role. Referrals typically come from neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery, neurology, oncology, vascular surgery, cardiology, rheumatology, trauma and internal medicine. If a patient is admitted into an inpatient rehab unit, the physiatrist may then assume more of a primary care role.
The primary professional organization for this area of medicine is the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R).